Palm Sunday in Italia is more about the olive branches than the palms, a strangely endearing enculturation of the liturgy that surprised me on our way to St. Peter’s square in the form of gypsies (is that even PC to say? Is PC a thing in this country?) selling small bundles of them for 5 euro a PIECE on the surrounding streets. Um, what? Pay for my palms? (Or whatever those things are.)
I was mildly scandalized, until we arrived in the Square and sidled up behind the obelisk for a good view of Papa Francesco. At his signal, everyone in the square (maybe around 125,000 at that point in the liturgy) raised their branches in unison, and the piazza became a sea of waving, flittering olive leaves (and a few fancy palms). It was beautiful. And I had to explain to my 2 year old why Mommy was too cheap and indignant to shell out more than a Starbucks fancy drink for him to have his own set.
After Pope Francis blessed the branches, he proceeded up the main aisle (on foot, so crazy!) to the major alter in front of the basilica where he would say Mass. We actually exited the piazza at this point to head down the street to ‘our parish,’ Santo Spiritu in Sassia, where an English language Mass is celebrated every Sunday at 10 am during the Year of Faith. Papal events are great, but when you live here, you become a little less capable of standing for hours in the blazing! (and it’s only March, calm down sweat glands) Roman sun with babies on your back. And besides that, Fr. Gino, our pastor from the Pontifical Council for the New Evangelization via New Jersey, is a wonderful, wonderful homilist and a fantastically holy priest.
He always compliments the boys on their screaming commentary of his Masses, and makes a point to tell everyone that heaven sounds like babies screaming. So, I’m hoping he isn’t endangering anyone’s salvation with that little nugget.
Anyway, the blurry and less than full body pictures, without further ado:
Get him off me.
Our ‘parish’ is a Divine Mercy shrine run by the Sisters of Mercy, so every olive branch had a line from St. Faustina’s diary tied to it. “Meditation on my Passion will help you rise above all things.”
Dress via Gap Shoes via JCrew (thrifted) Turquoise necklace via street vendor Shower-fresh topnot via…oh well, we were on time for once Ergo clinger via world’s most reluctant and indentured attachment parent